Illinois Unemployment Eligibility

Illinois’s unemployment compensation law sets the requirements that must be met to obtain unemployment compensation in the state. There are two types of eligibility. Non-monetary eligibility deals with various aspects of your work and employment whereas monetary eligibility contains a set of requirements which involve your earnings in the year before filing for unemployment. The state has put these requirements into action to ensure the benefits are not misused.

Non Monetary Eligibility

  • You must have lost job through no fault of your own.
  • Be available for work.
  • Be actively seeking work.
  • You must quit your job for good cause.
  • Your must not be fired for misconduct.
  • Earned sufficient wages in insured employment / covered employment.

Monetary Eligibility

To be monetarily eligible for unemployment benefits,

  • You must have earned at least $1,600 during the base period.
  • You must have earned at least $440 outside of the highest paid base period quarter.
  • If you do not qualify under the standard base period, Illinois Department of Unemployment Security (IDES) will use the most recent four completed quarters for an alternate base period.

If you have been awarded temporary total disability benefits under a workers’ compensation act or other similar acts, or if you only have worked within the last few months, your base period may be determined differently. Contact your local IDES office for more information.

Once you qualify for the unemployment benefits, your documents will be processed in about a week after which you will receive the benefit amount to your account or unemployment debit card, based on the choice made while filing the initial claim. Please make sure you apply for unemployment benefits without any delay as one week waiting period is inevitable and worse, you will not receive any pay during that week.

This does not end here. Make sure you file your weekly claims as without weekly certification you will not receive any benefit amount. Click here to know what needs to be done every week after you qualify for unemployment benefits.

Eligibility Questions

If I’m fired, will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

Generally, in Illinois you have to lose your job through no fault of your own in order to obtain unemployment benefits.
In most cases, this means that if you get fired, you cannot receive jobless benefits.
In case you got fired from your job, you must proceed and apply for jobless benefits. There are instances where you can be fired from your job and still obtain benefits. If you were fired unjustly or if there were any justifying situations, be sure to mention about the same to your unemployment counselor. If your unemployment application is rejected, you also have the right to appeal the decision.

I was laid off from my previous job. Am I eligible to receive unemployment compensation?

In Illinois you have to lose your job through no fault of your own in order to collect unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.
In almost all cases, this means that if you get laid-off, you are eligible and should apply immediately for unemployment benefits.
Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired or you did something wrong. It means that the company that you worked for did not have enough work for you to do, and could no longer pay for your job.

Can I Get Unemployment If I Quit My Job?

You might be able to receive unemployment if you quit a job in Illinois, but it depends on documentation and circumstances. Illinois considers the reason why you are out of work and the basic law is that it must be for a cause that is not your fault. If you leave willingly, it’s not easy to qualify.
The state recognizes a few special cases, such as

  • Domestic violence
  • Leaving job to join a military spouse assigned to a new location.
  • Quitting job for “good cause”. Unsafe working conditions, significant change in hiring agreement, not receiving payment for your work, medical reasons such as quitting on your doctor’s advice, quitting to care for a terminally ill spouse if there is no alternative care provider can be possible good cause.
  • State keeps out claimants who leave a job for personal reasons.


Check the Q&A Section and Benefit questions if your question is not listed here.


Want to know your weekly benefit rate? Use our free and easy to use calculator to know your benefit payment.
Know more about unemployment eligibility.

  1. i have filed for unemployment, but never recieved a password; I tried to reset (3 times) but that isn’t working. I missed my date to certify and am patiently waiting for the system to call me back, but have received no call back. Should i go into the office to resolve?

    1. Angie,

      Please do try visiting an office if considered safe. Many people are unable to get through with phone lines.

  2. Ok I applied for to kids school closing.
    I certified yesterday first time. I checked claimed weeks today and it said weeks ending in 3/28 & 4/5 deductions have exceeded my allowed benefits ??
    I cant get thru to talk to anyone.
    Whats this mean?

  3. I work for an IL church preschool. If I am laid off because of the coronavirus am I eligible to collect unemployment benefits?

  4. Due to coronavirus going on at the moment my days have been reduced from 5 days to only 2 days. Getting paid for only 16 hours a week until further notice. Do I qualify at all for some sort of help thru unemployment? I work for a Marriott hotel.

    1. Your state has activated the ‘emergency funding’ program authorized by the federal government. We recommend you to apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official website.

    1. Raymond,

      As much as I am aware, Unemployment Insurance is a one-time affair. Please call the Claims Center for more information.

  5. I work in Iowa but live in Illinois.Since Iowa & Illinois have a reciprocal agreement can I file in Illinois?

    1. Ive been at my job 5 years and recently filed for unemployment and was told i am monetarily in eligible why?

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